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Book News for Tuesday, August 25, 2009

  • The Way Home: What does President Obama read on vacation? Some damn good books, turns out. Such as:

    "The Way Home," by George Pelecanos. Jacket Copy talked to Pelecanos about the book in May. "This is really about a relationship between father and son, and how they find each other over a long, kind of tortuous road," he said. "On the thriller side of things, also I try to deliver the goods there, but I'm most concerned with my characters."

    "Lush Life" by Richard Price. Like Pelecanos, Price has written for the TV show "The Wire," and deals with both individual characters and their larger social context. "For Price," David Ulin wrote in our review, "the social novel is also a crime novel, or maybe it's just that in the intersection between criminality and citizenship we get our truest sense of what the city means." (Click here to read the Powells.com interview with Price.)

    I hope Obama tossed out the Left Behind books the previous guy kept in his file cabinet under "Foreign Policy."

    Related: The Daily Beast looks into a discrepency on the list, as Obama appears to be rereading Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded, which he took on his campaign last year.

    What, I'm the only person who reads a single book in three bursts over the course of a year?

  • Happy Hallows: You've heard the phrase "Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough"? (If not, click here.)

    It appears the same is true of children's books that were originally intended to lure the blessed souls of God's children into the blackest pits of brimstone the devil ever conjured from his filthiest orifi.

    When the Harry Potter books were first released, the conservative Christian community condemned them for glorifying witchcraft, spells and potions. Now that the series is completed, some religious scholars argue that the books actually follow the plot of the Gospel and use Christian imagery.

    As for Dumbledore's sex life, well... I believe the official policy is, "Don't ask, don't burn in hell."

  • Before the Fall: New York Magazine's book critic, Sam Anderson, selects his most anticipated fall publications, including:

    Dave Eggers
    The Wild Things (McSweeney's, Oct. 1)
    Eggers's novelization of Maurice Sendak's children's classic seems, like those big-eyed monsters themselves, both irresistible and treacherous. Will it enrich, or corrupt, one of the great holy texts of childhood?

    A. S. Byatt
    The Children's Book (Knopf, Oct. 6)
    Speaking of grown-up books about vaguely sinister children's literature: Byatt's info-stuffed historical novel revolves around a fairy-tale writer entangled in secrecy. Early reviews in England say it's her best since Possession.

    Don't miss the magazine's entire fall books preview, including new books by Stephen King, Jonathan Lethem, and more!

Book News Round-up:

  • Oprah Winfrey is getting ready to pick her next book club title:

    The talk show host tweeted Monday that her first new book club pick in a year will be announced Sept. 18. In her announcement, Winfrey stated she had "never made a selection like 'this.'"

    My guess? Porn.

  • Starting this holiday season, you can choose from not one, not two, but three different editions of the Sony Reader:

    1) The $199 Pocket Edition with "a five-inch electronic paper display packaged in a stylish chassis [that] is available in a variety of colors."

    2) The $299 Touch Edition with "a responsive, menu-driven six-inch touch screen panel that enables quick, intuitive navigation, page turning, highlighting and note taking."

    3) Or the $399 Daily Edition with its "seven-inch wide, touch screen display [that] provides for intuitive navigation and comfortable layout of content, including newspapers and magazines."

    Looks like the eBook war is gonna be fought in our stockings, kids.

  • How the Kindle (and other eBook readers) can save you the embarrassment of being caught in public reading teen vampire romance or porn (hello, Oprah!!).

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need...
    Used Hardcover $7.13
  2. The Wild Things
    Used Hardcover $7.95
  3. The Children's Book
    Used Hardcover $8.95
  4. Possession: A Romance
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  5. The Way Home
    Used Hardcover $3.95
  6. Lush Life
    Used Trade Paper $4.95
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...
    Used Hardcover $8.95

One Response to "Book News for Tuesday, August 25, 2009"

    DeniseB August 25th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    "As for Dumbledore's sex life, well... I believe the official policy is, "Don't ask, don't burn in hell."

    "My guess? Porn"

    Thanks for the pre-work laugh. You are hilarious.

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